In-Service Training Guidelines

CASA volunteers of Montgomery County are required to complete a minimum of 12 hours of in-service training each calendar year in order to stay abreast of new information, services, policies and legislation. In-service training credit can be earned through a variety of different delivery methods, including attending workshops, watching videos, and reading articles, and should be related to their role as a CASA volunteer.

The chart below outlines the amount of credit which can be earned for different types of training. Be sure to speak to Ann Marie Ronsman if you do not see a specific type of training listed below or would like to know if a certain type of training will qualify for credit. DOWNLOAD GUIDELINES

Training Type

Allowable Credit

Articles in magazines, journals and   newspapers related to child advocacy, plus written summary Maximum of 1 hour per article
Reading an approved book and turning in written summary 1-6 hours based on length of book (30 minutes for each 50 pages)
Video / DVD with written summary Length of the video or DVD (Maximum 2 hours)
TV Program with written summary Length of program (Maximum 2 hours)
On-line Training Module Hour for Hour Exchange (Use recommended credit if provided)
Webinar  Maximum of 1 hour per webinar
Conference Length of conference sessions minus breaks and lunch (Hour for Hour Exchange)
In-Service Session sponsored by CASA  Length of session / seminar minus breaks (Hour for Hour Exchange)
Classes related to child development, child advocacy Length of class / seminar minus breaks (Hour for Hour Exchange)
Assisting in Pre-Service Training Hour for Hour Exchange
Attending Advocate Support Group Meetings Maximum of 2 hours per meeting
Field Trips to Placement Resources 2-4 hours, depending on time spent
Brown Bag Lunch with Staff Hour for Hour Exchange
Speaking at CASA Events Maximum of 1 hour per event

CASA Approved On-Line Training


Watch the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder video series to learn more about FASD.

DFPS training is available on how to recognize and report child abuse. The self-paced training is available on the DFPS website at:

Other DFPS training options are available here:

Texas CASA – Resources for Volunteers

National CASA Association – Advocacy Resources for Volunteers and Staff
Also has online training that will give a total of 2.5 in-service hours. Contact your supervisor to get set up.

Additional training opportunities through CASA of Arizona:


Listed below by categories are articles and online publications to assist you with your CASA advocacy efforts. Make sure to notify your supervisor of the time spent on this independent learning as it can go towards your in-service hours.  Additional articles and publications are constantly being published and are available for credit; be sure to check with Wanda Smith if not listed below.

Child Development

Childhood Sexuality: What Professionals Need to Know (Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal pg 18- 24)
This article provides helpful guidelines for professionals who work in the area of child welfare about what is “normal” childhood sexuality, what might be cause for concern, and what needs immediate intervention.

Helping Infants and Toddlers Through Transitions in Foster Care (The Source, Fall 2004)
This issue of the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center’s bi-annual newsletter focuses on transitions for infants and toddlers in foster care.

Violence & Childhood: How Persisting Fear Can Alter the Developing Child’s Brain
This article by Bruce Perry, a leading researcher in children’s mental health and neuroscience, offers a neuro-developmental perspective on the impacts of violence on children.


Child Protection and the Legal System

Crossover Cases: Children and Youth Involved in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems
This issue of The Judges’ Page reviews multiple aspects of handling the crossover case.

Giving the Family a Chance: Working Towards Reunification
This National CASA article presents a fresh look at the issues surrounding reunification, discusses reasonable efforts, offers tips for advocates, and provides useful resources for CASAs.

The Indian Child Welfare Act & CASA/GAL Volunteers: Advocating for the Best Interests of Native Children
This article provides a brief history of the Indian Child Welfare Act and helpful advice for CASAs who are advocating for Native American children.


Child Well-Being

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being
This annual report, created by the Forum on Child and Family Statistics, provides updates on the well-being of children and families in the United States across a range of domains.


Collaborative family engagement

Collaborative Family Engagement Training: Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) is an integrated or embedded approach that establishes a true team between CASA and Child Protective Services (CPS) to work together to complete the steps of Family Finding. This video provides an overview of CFE and Mobility Mapping.


Cultural Competence

A FOCUS on Cultural Competency
This quarterly newsletter from the Foster Family-based Treatment Association (FFTA) presents several articles which explore ways to build cultural competence.

A Practice Guide for Working with African American Families in the Child Welfare System
Although it is aimed at caseworkers, this article is instructive for CASA/GAL volunteers as they seek to employ a culturally competent, strengths-based approach to working with African American families.


Serving Native American Children in Foster Care (The Connection, winter 2009, pg. 6-11)
This article discusses current realities for Native American children in the foster care system and offers tips and resources to advocate more effectively.

Understanding the Relational Worldview in Indian Families
This National CASA Association article summarizes both the linear and relational worldviews and shows how Indian family functioning can be understood from the relational view.



Challenges Faced by Foster Youth with Chronic Illnesses and Severe Disabilities
The Spring 2009 issue of National CASA Associations “The Connection ” magazine contains several articles and resource references dealing with foster youth and chronic illnesses and severe disabilities.


Domestic Violence





Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Children in Foster Care FACT SHEET
This fact sheet offers a framework for both direct case advocacy and system reform efforts to improve educational outcomes for children in foster care. It presents 8 goals for youth, benchmarks that indicate progress toward educational success as well as national, state and local examples of policies, practices, programs and resources.

Foster Care & Student Success Resource Guide
This guide is the product of collaboration with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Supreme Court of Texas, and the Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families (Children’s Commission). This e-guide and training manual contains a variety of key researched-based topics and calls attention to important matters related to the education of students in foster care.  The guide promotes best practices and contains numerous tips, tools, resources and links to more information.

Foster Children & Education: How You Can Create a Positive Educational Experience for the Foster Child
This paper gives an overview of the educational obstacles facing children in foster care and the role adults can play to have a positive impact on their educational experience.

Mythbusting: Breaking Down Confidentiality & Decision-Making Barriers to Meet the Education Needs of Children in Foster Care
This paper gives an overview of the education needs of children in foster care, explains the federal laws regarding confidentiality of education records, and debunks myths about confidentiality.

The McKinney-Vento Act at a Glance
This issue brief provides an overview of the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act which is educational legislation that includes foster children.

Transition Planning for Foster Youth with Disabilities: Are We Falling Short?
This issue brief from the Fostering Futures Project discusses the findings of a study which evaluated the school transition plans of students who are in both foster care and special education. It explains some of the contributing factors to the problem and presents seven recommendations for improvement.


Mental Health

Women’s Mental Health: What It Means to You
This booklet from The Office on Women’s Health addresses the stigma associated with mental health, with information on the signs and symptoms of mental illness. It also provides suggestions for support and solutions for preventing and coping with mental illness.


Older Youth

Adolescent Growth and Development
This article provides an overview of how teens develop physically, cognitively, and socially as well as how they are affected, what adults can do and what support resources are available.

The Difficult Transition to Adulthood for Foster Youth in the U.S.: Implications for the State as Corporate Parent (Social Policy Report 2009 – Article 1 – Author: Mark E. Courtney)
The author briefly describes the U.S. child welfare system, summarizes research on the transition to adulthood for foster youth, and examines the evolution of U.S. policy towards foster youth using the concept of “corporate parenting.”

Transitions: Building Better Lives for Youth Leaving Foster Care
This 2005 report from Children’s Action Alliance provides information on federal laws and funding, existing state support programs and services to support transitioning youth, findings from focus groups with youth in/from foster care and state actions taken to improve transitions for youth.


Substance Abuse

Parental Substance Use and the Child Welfare System
This fact sheet from the Child Welfare Information Gateway provides an overview of the issues confronting families affected by parental substance use and who enter the child welfare system.

Protecting Children in Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders
This manual addresses the nature of substance use disorders (SUDs) and provides an overview of how child welfare and other related professionals can assist families affected by SUDs.

Recovery: A Philosophy of Hope and Resilience (SAMHSA News September/October 2009)
This issue of SAMHSA News highlights The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s recovery-related programs and recent white papers on research, case studies, and lessons learned.

“The Truth About Addiction”
This article is aimed at helping those who work in the child welfare system understand addiction.

Understanding Substance Abuse & Facilitating Recovery: A Guide for Child Welfare Workers
This guide is intended to help child welfare workers understand how alcohol and drugs affect child welfare, recognize when substance abuse is a factor in child welfare cases, understand addiction and treatment, and collaborate with treatment partners.


Online Publications

The Judges Page newsletter

An online publication from National CASA in partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, which provides articles about reasonable efforts, mental health, substance abuse, child development and the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The Source

A bi-annual magazine published by the AIA Resource Center. Each issue focuses on a different theme related to substance abuse, HIV and/or child welfare. The magazine includes: articles on practices, policy and research, program profiles, resource reviews, and conference listings.

Represent magazine

This is a teen-written magazine that discusses issues facing children throughout the foster care system. Its goal is to train, inform, and provide a voice for teens through print journalism. Website


This national newsletter of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is published six times a year (bimonthly) and provides information about the latest substance abuse and mental health treatment and prevention practices.

Social Policy Report

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) offers this report four times each year to provide a forum for scholarly reviews and discussions of developmental research and its implications for policies affecting children.


CASA approved books.
Please download this list of CASA-approved literature.  Be sure to check with Wanda Smith about additional titles, subjects or authors not included on this list.



CASA Approved Films
Please download this document for a comprehensive list with descriptions and ratings.  Be sure to check with Wanda Smith about additional film or TV titles not included on this list.